Heidi from Hands Occupied wearing her primary colored version of the So Faded sweater by Andrea Mowry.
Wearing: my take on the So Faded sweater by Andrea Mowry.

Often at the beginning of a new year, I share a blog post rounding up the previous year and outlining what’s to come. However, this year I’m finding myself in need of a little break. A full time creative since 2016, I have very much learned the hard way how burnout can knock a person off their game for longer than if they’d just listened to themselves and taken a break when they needed it.

This past Monday marked the deadline for one of the bigger design projects of my career. Delighted to have made it through the year 2020 and make my deadline on time, I knew I wanted to take it easy. Often, especially when I’ve had a deadline, I end up with a backlog of emails and work to catch up on afterwards. This latest project was no exception.

@handsoccupied

No two dreams looks the same! Pursue the life you imagine, even if it involves llama pjs & yarn. 🦙🧶##learnontiktok ##tiktokpartner ##intarsia ##knit

♬ LIVE YOUR DREAM – mellowtone

Breaks are great!

I’ve been blogging since September of 2010. In the past, I would just plow through a post-deadline catch-up in a couple days, kidding myself that finishing a to do list was the way to assuage post-design-project depression (a real thing, tuns out!). Doing that for project after project, year after year, is a recipe for burnout, particularly when so many other anxiety-inducing things are happening on a seemingly-endless loop in real life.

For years, I didn’t realize how valuable breaks are, especially for creative work. This post is just a few paragraphs outlining why I’ll be MIA for a bit, but maybe if you’re a maker on the cusp of falling out of love with your craft this will resonate with you. At the end of the day, I’m just one person, and taking care of myself comes before work.

The Very Serious Crafts Podcast

Listen & subscribe to the Very Serious Crafts podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts!

Speaking of which, I’d be remiss not to mention The Very Serious Crafts Podcast. I have been a co-host of VSC since episode 2 of season 1, and it’s been a blast! At the end of season 3 a few weeks ago, I announced I’ll be stepping back from the podcast after this season. In our most recent free episode, I talk about how in addition to needing a bit of a break overall, I also have some minor medical issues that I need to make time to attend to, and I needed to let go of something to make the time. (Are we sensing the self-care theme for 2021 yet? 😆 )

You can listen to my last episode co-hosting The Very Serious Crafts Podcast below:

Heidi with a big intarsia knitting swatch.
Don’t you also take selfies with your intarsia swatches?

Intentional Time Off

Sometimes it’s helpful to commit intentions to “paper,” so I’ll wrap up this unusually personal blog post by doing just that. On this break, my big work goal is to zoom out and check in with the overall Hands Occupied universe to ensure that I’m aiming in my efforts in the right direction. It’s been ten years, and there’s a lot to unpack! I landed my recently-wrapped design project right as my book was coming out and I was reaching the ten year anniversary of Hands Occupied. In addition to overall new year planning, I want a minute to pause to plan what’s next. That’s a much harder task when you’re in the thick of swatches and gauge math, you know?

Yours in yarn,
Heidi ❤

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